All in all Castle Stuart can be described as a throwback to golf as it once was – a simple walk through pleasing natural surrounds with some companionable and competitive rules attached to it.
Errors & Recovery
We have sought to promote an expansive mindset during play, to minimise time spent looking for lost golf balls, to create greens that allow for aggressive and confident putting, and to present a pleasurable setting for all to enjoy during their round of golf. Castle Stuart itself reflects an appreciation that the game of golf is more about error and recovery than it is about perfection. Its ethos is more about redemption than punishment. It reflects a perspective derived from the play of the 190 top professionals for whom statistics are readily available.
Consider their facts per round, on average, out on tour. ‘Fairways hit’ … only 9 of 14. ‘Greens hit in regulation’ … only 12 of 18. ‘Up and down’ success rate … only 3 of 6. ‘Final result’ … 3 birdies, 12 pars, 3 bogies, even par score. The facts reveal a game of error and recovery, perhaps the most underrated and yet interesting part of the game. The texture of recovery issues after the inevitable error is an important characteristic that often defines the personality of a golf course. How engaging are the recovery circumstances? Is there variety to the type of issues encountered? Are there interesting options available? Can a player demonstrate skill with his recoveries? Do the issues favour one class of player more than another? Does judgment in light of personal tendencies matter with regard to decisions taken? And perhaps most importantly, do the circumstances elicit hope that something good can yet happen despite the compromised situation? And as a result, is each and every golfer as pleasurably absorbed as possible, errors or not?
‘Ball-in-pocket and disengaged’, often the result of unrelenting difficulty, is a reality and state of mind that we think should be kept to a minimum. We believe the most cherished courses in the world keep each golfer in his or her competitive ‘hunt’ throughout the entirety of their round of golf, while also providing a pleasurable forum for friendly and companionable banter – one unmatched by any other sporting activity. We have taken our lead from great courses of this nature and the robust playing experience they elicit.
Castle Stuart embraces wide latitude of play off tees. The question is often not about getting the ball in play but rather about finding where advantages can be had. Further, Castle Stuart does not confine seeking advantage solely to the long hitting player. Favourable approach angles into greens can often be found with driving lines and distances that are not likely to appeal to long hitting players.
The use of edge contours (versus bunkers) to defend greens at Castle Stuart makes recovery issues manageable for those of lesser skills while often retaining a testy quality for the accomplished player. The course is more about interesting and manageable issues than difficulty for the sake of being difficult. It is about hope and redemption.
Choice & Nuance
At Castle Stuart Golf Links, an individual’s play can be approached in many ways. A few overall approaches are to be considered. A golfer can decide to go for the ‘fat part’ of generous fairways, let his tee shot go, and then take on whatever issue he’s left with. Or he can use his eye to read the course to whatever depth his mind and skill set will allow. Meaningful nuances and choices are there to be discovered. The greens, their surrounds, and pin locations at Castle Stuart spawn issues and challenges worthy of tactical consideration on the tee.
Castle Stuart is not a ‘kick it through the uprights’ type of golf course. Its holes can be evaluated tactically from the tee in consideration of the ‘whole’ and approached with that entirety in mind. Greens, surrounds, and pin locations can be seen and evaluated from most tees at Castle Stuart. And when the most salient issues are there to be read as quickly and easily as the simplest of billboards, then this course can ‘talk’ to the golfer – and with further looks, it can even ‘whisper’ intimate details. No map is necessary – just a good eye and an ability to ‘look’, ‘listen’, and to ‘choose’. With whatever approach selected and whatever skill level brought bear, it is best to remember the absorbing fun that is there to be found.
We also realise how important pre-and-post golf activities are to an overall ‘golf experience’. We have embraced a total experience that starts with your arrival, a question-quieting approach to the clubhouse and what lies beyond. The proximity of the practice range to the golf shop, restaurant, locker rooms, and golf course is readily apparent. A warm welcome invites use of our full range of clubhouse amenities, a wee warm up on the practice range, the holing of a few putts before play, and the enjoyment of a complete meal or drink in the comfortable and friendly atmosphere of the clubhouse. And we haven’t forgotten how important panoramic clubhouse vistas of both the course and the landmarks of the Moray Firth are to the full pre-and-post programme – a total experience that should lead to enduring memories. On a golf odyssey, what can be more important than fond memories savoured for a lifetime?
Thank you for coming to visit Castle Stuart Golf Links.
We’ll see you in the bar.
Castle Stuart Golf